Denver Makes ADU Rules More Flexible

The city hopes adjusting its regulations for accessory dwelling units will make the process more affordable for residents and help ease the city’s housing crunch.

2 minute read

June 7, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

The Denver City Council passed an amendment to its zoning code that makes the rules for building accessory dwelling units (ADU) more flexible in hopes of making ADU construction more affordable and feasible for the city’s residents. 

As Desiree Mathurin explains in Denverite, the change is a result of recommendations from an ADU Advisory Committee created last year to determine barriers to ADU construction. “The goal of the committee was to look at some of the construction technicalities in the zoning code, including size and placement, and decide whether changing these rules would make ADUs easier to build.”

The committee found that “Tailoring the ADU construction rules around which neighborhood context they inhabit allows the ADUs to be a better fit for each neighborhood. And they make ADUs easier to build because now homeowners don’t have to worry about those uniform technicalities,” said Genna Morton, communications specialist with Community Planning and Development. Tailoring rules to each neighborhood can also reduce costs by letting homeowners build the type of ADU that fits best within the constraints of their lot and surroundings.

The new rules use existing Suburban, Urban Edge, and Urban designations to adjust ADU regulations. “For example, homes in Urban zoning areas typically have smaller lot sizes. With uniform ADU size requirements, some homeowners couldn’t build on their lots even if their neighborhood was zoned for an ADU.” Now, the regulations will take zoning areas into account to remove unnecessary barriers.

Monday, June 5, 2023 in Denverite

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